Bill Maher and Free Speech
Bill Maher isn’t just an Islamophobe and a misogynist, but also an idiot. He calls those who try to get Rush Limbaugh off the air “babies” who “don’t get free speech”. But apparently, he gets it. He lectures liberals that being liberal means tolerating all kinds of stupid shit thrown at people, including racist, xenophobic, misogynist garbage and total lies and misinformation, broadcast on public airwaves, in the name of “free speech”. We, as people, apparently should not have a say as to what gets sent into our living rooms. Anyone who objects and tries to change that is a little baby and doesn’t understand free speech. If you order food and instead, day after day, get harmful junk that makes you sick, you’d object, or try to change that, but I suppose receiving false information and poisonous ideas and lies and prejudices fed into our and our children’s brains is okay.
But, Bill Maher is right about one thing: trying to get Rush Limbaugh off the air is a “liberal” thing. The reason liberals target Limbaugh is because he’s the most offensive, not because he’s different, in any real or fundamental way, from all the others who spew all kinds of racist, xenophobic and misogynist rants and lies and participate in the brainwashing of the people, everyday. He’s singled out, because he goes too far even for liberals and crosses their line of sensibility and sensitivity. But, Bill Maher proudly proclaims that he’s the true liberal because he has no such demarcation line. For him, everything goes, in the name of “free speech”.
Now, why do I call him an idiot and what’s wrong with “free speech”? Because there is no such thing. Speech that can be heard by thousands and millions of people isn’t free, at all. In fact, it’s quite expensive and only big corporations with big money can afford to purchase mass media outlets that can reach so many people and hire racist, homophobic, Islamophobic idiots and liars like Limbaugh, O’Reily, Hannity and Bill Maher and through them broadcast their own opinions and mindset to millions of people, including the very idea that anyone with the kind of money that takes to own Newscorp, Time Warner, HBO or others, should have the ability and authority to broadcast their ideas to the population, even though only a very tiny section of the population can do that and naturally they would propagate and promote only the ideas and ideology of that tiny minority, shaping the society’s culture and groupthink, which is anathema to the principles of democracy, which Bill Maher prides himself to possess.
I don’t try to get Limbaugh off the air, because I don’t think the problem is any one individual talkshow host; rather, I believe the problem is systemic, as in the system, that allows and produces such disparity, absence of democracy and propagation of lies, disinformation and brainwashing, which Mr. Maher himself is a part of. Case in point: he got to say to tens of thousands in his last HBO show, and thousands more read on the Internet, his idea of “free speech”, which he “gets”, not necessarily because his ideas are the right ones, but because he happens to be hired for big bucks by a corporation, which has no problem with what he says and which expects him to say the “right” things. I’m sure he remembers all too well how he got fired in 2001, by a big corporation with the “right” to “free speech”, which was not free and on the contrary was quite expensive, for not saying the right thing, meaning the line of the corporation. He realized then that “free speech” for him wasn’t quite the same as for the corporation that hired him. And precisely because their “free” speech had been paid for, it gave them the authority to stop Mr. Maher’s own “free speech”, which we, as well as Mr. Maher himself realized he didn’t have, after all. So, for him to forget that corporate and powerful part of that equation is quite ironic.
Now, I called him an idiot, but I have to qualify that. People like Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh, with whom he has more similarities than most liberals would admit, are products of a profit based system, who learn how to sell themselves to the corporate world to become “successful”. It’s a “win-win situation”, as they, from Wolf Blitzer to Rev. Al Sharpton and from the NPR reporters to PBS broadcasters all serve the corporations with their propaganda needs. As for the rest of us, we only hear about that elusive “free speech” and get to adopt their ideas of what it even is.